Switzerland – The luthier

I returned to the luthier’s workshop who transformed a spruce tree into a violin in my previous post. Thanks to his talented owner, the music instrument distills exquisite melodies that enchant the world since then. 

Unlike the young musician and his father who visited the luthier a while ago, I was not looking for a violin to acquire. I was rather interested to spend time with the luthier in his working environment.

During my visit, the craftsman was creating another violin under the supervision of the legendary master luthier Antonio Stradivarius. Although the music instrument was still an unfinished piece of artwork, its curved shapes and wood structure expressed already plenty of charming character. 

Amongst the classical cord instruments, I am fascinated by the aesthetic perfection of the violin. It illustrates how much small can be beautiful. Its classical beauty is never repetitive given the distinctive subtleties of its shapes, wood textures and colours. Sound-wise, I much prefer the tonal range of the violoncello.

The luthier and I had a long and vivid chat, exploring many subjects of common interest. As a trained pipe organ builder, I am fond of skilled craftspersons who create beautiful objects that are also vivid music instruments. 

Eventually, the luthier proposed me to visit his storage, test and exhibition room. Located in a historical building, the windowless underground room contained dozens and dozens of beautiful cord instruments. Upon my arrival, they were playing with no director a ciaccona – a superb music piece composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1720. Once done with their performance, they looked at me with amicable curiosity.

I had a great time connecting with the silent but rich atmosphere there in order to create the following photographs. I found quite challenging to frame my pictures as all the music instruments were competing to get my visual and emotional attention. Various light sources helped me to modulate tonalities and ambiances, and to play with shapes and shadows. 

Music and photography may not share much in common at first sight. However, my post suggests that they can communicate together very well. Music and photography constitute two interconnected modes of artistic expression to celebrate culture and beauty. 


By Bertrand

Trotting the globe with vision, values and humour